Reply To: Soko Islands will be harmed by ExxonMobil-CLP LNG terminal


As printed in Jan. 24th SCMP (this is the unedited version)

Whilst WWF’s petition does indeed ask us to urge the government not
to let the Chinese White Dolphins (aka pink dolphins) become extinct,
I do not think they- or anyone else- are suggesting that Exxon-CLP’s
proposed LNG terminal at the Sokos will in itself kill off the
dolphins. (“Greens exaggerating impact on dolphins, says expert”,
Jan. 22nd).
However we do believe that this project would be yet another nail in
the dolphins’ coffin – as even
Exxon-CLP hired hand marine biologist Thomas Jefferson admits, it is the
cumulative impact of all the past and future development in the
Lantau area that concerns us. It is patronising to say we do not
understand the mitigation measures. We do – but we also understand the long
term effects of rampant development and loss of fishing grounds and
Dr Jefferson also claims (Jan. 23rd) that the 40 km pipeline would have only a short term and relatively minor
impact on the dolphins – what does this mean? Not too many dead, so it doesn’t matter? And how will this work
alongside the Airport Authority’s proposal for a facility storing 400,000 cubic metres of oil near Tuen Mun, with another pipeline dredged through the same area, to the fuel facility at Sha Chau?
Every time an EIA is done in Hong Kong, it is done in a bubble and no
one – on land or at sea- ever seems to look at the cumulative effect
of say, an airport, a theme park, a gas terminal, a bridge to Macau,
more container terminals (the list goes on and on) in the dolphins’
habitat. Just as with human habitat, the government seems beholden to
developers and other big businesses, without a thought for those who
have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
Of course we all want clean air, of course this would benefit both
people and dolphins, but, as been stated over and over, there is no
need to allow Exxon-CLP to to ride roughshod over an area that was
proposed as a marine park, with cleaner air as a justification. One
LNG terminal is not going to clear the air over night either. There
is not even any need for this facility to be built in Hong Kong-
Black Point might be a slightly preferable location dolphin-wise, but
the mainland would be better for all of us, consumers included-
except of course for the energy companies who stand to profit by
keeping their investment within Hong Kong.

Janet walker
Hong Kong Dolphinwatch